Survivors deserve to be heard and believed | AspenTimes.com

Survivors deserve to be heard and believed

Look around you and reflect that 1 in 3 of the women you see (and 1 in 6 men) will likely be the victim of sexual violence in their lifetime. Watch your clock for 98 seconds and notice that in that time one more American will be sexually assaulted. Why, given those statistics, does so much of the public still immediately conclude that a survivor is lying? According to the American Psychological Association, sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in the country but false claims of sexual assault account for a mere 2-7% of all claims. As we are currently witnessing in the news, coming forth with a story of sexual assault is painful and traumatic. The idea that someone would put themselves through this public scrutiny for personal gain is hard to fathom.

This week we received a letter from a local mother so upset by the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh that she felt compelled to share, for the first time, her own story of being raped in high school. But she was afraid of the upheaval this disclosure would bring. On behalf of her and the many others who have kept silent, often for most of their lives – please believe survivors!

Response is here to support survivors whether the abuse happened last night or three decades ago. Parents, we encourage you to talk to your children about treating people with respect and speaking out when they see something that is wrong. Response also spreads this message in the schools but it must be repeated, and reinforced if we ever hope to change the culture around sexual assault in this country.

Everyone in our community deserves to live free of sexual violence and survivors deserve to heard.. and believed.

Shannon Meyer

Executive Director of Response